The ARF Re:think 2013

A fresh breeze is flowing through the halls in the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. This year's annual ARF conference is decidedly different -- in a good way. It began with CBS's David Poltrack reading a statement by the outgoing President Bob Barocci, who was under the weather and could not attend. Bob's remarks, as read by David, were a fine swan song. It was particularly impressive that he saw the ARF mission as "lobbying" for and pursuing TRUTH.

There have been many "missions" that the ARF aspired to fulfill over the last several decades -- none, however, have been centered around the search for and promotion of truth in research. The seeking of truth is taking the ARF back to its original mission given to it by its founder, the AAAA and the ANA.
Following these comments, David introduced the newly elected president of the ARF: Gayle Fuguitt, formerly of General Mills. Even before she was interviewed by Rance Crain of Ad Age, she represented "change." First, she was the first-ever leader of the ARF who came from the Advertiser side of the four groups who make up the membership of the organization. And secondly, she broke through the glass ceiling, being the first woman elected to this job.
During her first interview she made it clear that she considers research -- truthful research -- of critical importance. She also acknowledged that changes in media and technology are inevitable, and that the ARF must embrace change while continuing to support good research. Lastly, Fuguitt outlined her very simple but deceptively powerful philosophy with regard to her job. It is all about attending to the "Trilogy": The simplicity gap, The growth gap and the leadership gap.
Walking the halls all day, it was abundantly clear that attendees, to a man -- and woman -- agreed with her. Clearly, Fuguitt has been well received.



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